Thursday, 14 July 2022

Vodnjan Company Infobip Now Taking Over Netokracija Magazine

July the 4th, 2022 - The remarkable Vodnjan company Infobip, otherwise Croatia's very first unicorn, is now taking over the Netokracija magazine in yet another step forward for its business.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, Infobip, the first Croatian unicorn, is taking over the business and technology magazine Netokracija, with which it has been cooperating for a long time, with the aim of strengthening the developer community and providing it with content intended for it, as well as further raising the value of IT in society as a whole.

Netokracija's team, headed by founder Ivan Brezak Brkan, will become part of the Vodnjan company Infobip's developer experience department led by Ivan Burazin.

It's worth looking at just how far Infobip has come, as it has well and truly broken the stereotypes placed on the majority of Croatian companies. Last year, Infobip took over Shift, the largest regional developer conference of which Netokracija has been a partner since the very beginning.

The plan is for Netokracija, as part of the wider Infobip Group, to continue operating through independent editorial with the potential to expand to other markets to continue positioning itself as a relevant media portal in the Republic of Croatia and in neighbouring Serbia with a stronger focus placed on the startup and developer scene.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Golden Key Awards: Best Croatian Exporters Announced!

July the 6th, 2022 - The Golden Key awards (Croatian: Zlatni kljuc) are awarded to the best Croatian exporters each year, and this year, with continued challenges owing to the war in Ukraine which broke out following Russian invasion back in February this year, things continue to be demanding for businesses.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Golden Key awards for the best of Croatia's largest exporters went to Koncar - Distribution and special transformers, the best of the medium Croatian exporters is Dok-Ing, and the Q agency has been declared the best of the small and micro Croatian exporters for this year.

The president of the Croatian Exporters (HIZ) pointed out that these strange times in which business is being conducted are extremely challenging and complicated due to the coronavirus pandemic and Russian aggression.

"The world's gross export back in 2021, if we're looking solely at goods, fell, but services and the total in that sense actually increased. Exports from Croatia have increased, which means that we're in a good position compared to the rest of the world. The shortfalls that occurred here for the Croatian economy were then offset by a successful tourist season.

The export of goods and services to the EU is traditionally in the negative, and with CEFTA in the plus, whether that refers to goods or services. For years, the structure of our largest trade partners has been the same, consisting of five countries including Italy, Germany and Slovenia," said Darinko Bago. He repeated that Croatian exporters employ the majority of employees and generate the largest share of the country's GDP, and according to the calculations of the Financial Agency (Fina), Croatian exporters contribute on average to the budget and GDP by as much as 40 percent more than other companies.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also spoke about the challenges currently being faced by the Croatian and European economy, and he emphasised that we are living in a time of several parallel crises, the likes of which have not been seen for decades. The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic halted society as a whole, caused severe damage to the global economy and reduced the global GDP by double-digit values, and now we have a war on European soil.

"The second crisis is the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which disrupted the energy market and consequently led to inflationary trends throughout Europe and the world. The third crisis is the climate crisis, which, connected with the events in Ukraine, leads to a global food crisis. Therefore, he warned, we all have to sit down together and see how to deal with these parallel crises," Plenkovic pointed out as Croatian exporters were rewarded for their efforts.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Neglected Croatian Erdody Castle to be Renovated by INg-GRAD

July the 4th, 2022 - Croatia is full of impressive castles and palaces from various periods throughout its turbulent history and over many changes of state and governing body. The Croatian Erdody Castle has sadly been in a state of neglect since the 1980s, but it seems all that is about to change for the better.

The Croatian Erdody Castle is located in Kerestinec and is the oldest remaining building in all of Jastrebarsko, which isn't too far from the City of Zagreb. It was initially constructed by the Erdody family from which it draws its name. This two story structure which has sadly been left to rot to an extent is a first category monument with its Renaissance fortified elements still impressive to this day, despite its general state. 

Way back in the year 1565, a man who was working very hard on the construction of the structure which was then surrounded by a moat, Petar II Erdody, was awarded the noble title of count. By the time 1575 rolled around, the castle had been quite significantly expanded and given a new lease of life, with works on it continuing on and off until the late 16th century.

It was rebuilt once again periodically during the 18th and 19th centuries, and fully refurnished in the early 20th century. It has since been left to the often cruel hands of time and the elements, and is absolutely due a revamp before it is lost entirely.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Mladen Miletic writes, a contract was signed recently in Jastrebarsko between the mayor, Zvonimir Novosel, and the INg-GRAD company, which will enable the start of works on the restoration of the neglected Croatian Erdody Castle.

The deadline for the execution of the works is 480 calendar days from the date of the introduction of the contractor to the work, and the total value of the works stands at a massive 108,194,041.60 kuna excluding VAT.

Due to market disruptions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and then by the war in Ukraine, that sum exceeds the total value of the castle renovation and revitalisation project, which in accordance with the Grant Agreement, amounts to 73,639,686.93 kuna, of which 49,503,626.59 kuna is being co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, while the amount of 24,136,060, 34 kuna bas been provided by Jastrebarsko itself.

It's worth noting that despite constant interventions throughout time, as touched on above, the Croatian Erdody Castle has been in a state of disrepair since the late 1980s.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Decospan Mato Furnir Rated Most Successful Croatian Company in 2021

ZAGREB, 1 July 2022 - Wood veneer manufacturer Deospan Mato Furnir is the recipient of the Financial Agency's (Fina) Golden Balance Award as the most successful Croatian company overall based on financial ratings for 2021.

At a ceremony on Thursday evening, Fina presented 19 awards in total: 11 Golden Balance awards to the best companies in individual sectors, two honours for excellence in business continuity and six Golden Balance awards in special categories.

Fina analyzed 144,259 businesses and selected 3,978 of them for the award competition.

The Golden Balance Award is awarded based on rankings calculated from 11 financial indicators in five categories – profitability, liquidity, debt, business activities, and economic efficiency. The overall winner has the highest credit rating score based on recognized international standards, namely the Basel III Guidelines and International Financial Reporting Standard 9.

Decospan Mato Furnir, based in Oprisavci in eastern Slavonski Brod-Posavina County, was also rated as the best manufacturing company.

Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the government was now focusing on reforms and measures to ensure that every six months Croatia received a cheque from the EU, like the one it received two days ago, in the amount of €700 million. He added that they would pursue another 25 benchmarks so that this could happen in December as well.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that Croatian companies had been facing challenges for several years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the earthquakes, and now inflationary pressures, adding that increased energy prices put continued pressure on businesses.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Bluesun Hotel Chain Renovates Around 800 Rooms in 45 Million Euro Investment

July the 1st, 2022 - The well known Croatian Bluesun hotel chain which is based in Dalmatia has invested an enormous 45 million euros back into its impressive capacities, renovating approximately 800 rooms.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, summer is here and the height of the tourist season is rapidly approaching. As such, Bluesun Hotels & Resorts, one of the leading hotel chains in all of the Republic of Croatia, has invested more than 45 million euros in the renovation of six properties in its portfolio. The investment resulted in the renovation of almost 800 rooms in the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa, Bluesun Hotel Borak, Bluesun Holiday Village Bonaca in Bol on the island of Brac, Bluesun Hotel Maestral, Bluesun Hotel Soline in Brela and Residence Kastelet in Tucepi.

The Bluesun hotel chain, with more than sixty hotels under its belt, points out that they managed to make the investment in less than half a year, in very challenging times and a during years marked not only by the coronavirus crisis, but also by rising prices owing to inflation and the ongoing horrendous war in Ukraine which broke out earlier this year following Russian invasion.

They also stated that when revamping the Maestral Hotel in Brela, they paid a lot of attention to the preservation of architecture, to the extent that they worked closely with conservators in order to avoid mismatching with the historical and emblematic typical Dalmatian architecture of the area.

All of the investment work, worth more than 45 million euros, was carried out by local construction companies, the Bluesun hotel chain made sure to note, saying they believed it was important to focus on local talent who best understood the environment in which the works are being carried out. Radnik from Krizevci, Kamgrad and Krekic-Avangard worked on the renovation of six of this company's hotels, while the main designer was the company Stabilnost, who also provided their expert supervision of the projects as they were carried out.

"With this investment, we're paying tribute to the people, the local economy, the community, history and the flawless Adriatic coast. We'd like to say a sincere thank you to the partners and our exceptional team who brought us to where we are today. It's amazing what we've achieved,'' said Mubarak Al-Khalifa, CEO.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Osijek Company Barrage Opening Another Office, Hiring More Employees

June the 27th, 2022 - The Osijek company Barrage is set to open yet another office, this time in Nasice, and employ even more workers. The move being made by this software company will surely help ongoing Eastern Croatian demography issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, the Osijek company Barrage, founded a mere six years ago, should open an office in Nasice by September this year, in addition to their exisitng office in the City of Osijek.

This company has been growing both in terms of revenue and number of employees since its establishment. Back in 2016 they started out with 5 million kuna in revenue and ended in 20 million kuna in consolidated revenue, as well as 8 million kuna earned in 2021. They decided open their office in a small Slavonian town of only 14,000 residents because they noticed that this is a city where they have the talent they need.

Plans in Nasice

"Through the Croatian Association of Linux Users (HULK), which has a long tradition, they showed interest in software and we estimated that no other place in the area has the potential we need," explained Luka Striskovic, the director of Legal Affairs and Human Resources within the Osijek company Barrage.

Six engineers have already been employed by the company, and a total of ten should be working there by the end of the year. Work on the landscaping should be completed soon, but with the move of engineers currently working from home, they will wait until the end of summer, ie September.

This company is engaged in a wide range of software activities, which makes them specific here on the domestic market; as they deal with the development of custom software systems, the development of data centers and digital products, and it's a fact that by the end of this year they plan to increase their number of employees from the current 108 to 150.

The increase in the number of workers should come as no surprise given the number of projects the Osijek company Barrage is currently working on and developing, especially given the fact that this is a company that generates 99 percent of its revenue on foreign markets.

One of the projects is the development of the digital product Travelspot for business travel management. The other is Roango, a platform specialising in hiring professionals in the ICT sector. Both of these platforms were created during the coronavirus crisis and during lockdown, in response to the problems they themselves faced.

While they predict that this year, Barrage's business results will be better than last year’s, they're still looking at 2023 with a healthy dose of caution.

A less than certain 2023...

“We need to be moderately optimistic because the current phase of financial planning comes down more to prophecies than it does to stable planning. Looking at the global economy, there's definitely a difficult time ahead of us,'' pointed out the director of legal affairs and human resources of the company, whose philosophy is that healthy local patriotism can result in something big.

"We believe that a lot can be done here in Slavonia. In many areas, such as industry and agriculture, Slavonia has been struggling for years. We're ready to change all that by enabling people to get a job here at home and not have to head elsewhere,'' concluded Striskovic, noting that their upcoming office in Nasice is the first step towards that.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Croatian Company AD Plastik Contracts Job Worth 86 Million Kuna

June the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian company AD Plastik has contracted a job which will last for nine years worth a massive 859 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the most important Croatian player in the production of auto parts, AD Plastik Group, has contracted new deals with the Stellantis Group for the European market, with expected revenues of 85.9 million euros over the projected duration of the project, which is nine years.

Stellantis NV is a multinational car manufacturing corporation founded only in 2021 based on a cross-border merger in a 50-50 ratio between the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the French PSA Group. The company is headquartered in Amsterdam, and last year they reported operating income of 15.3 billion euros.

Stellantis' core business is the design, development, production and sales of cars from its sixteen brands: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall.

At the time of the merger, Stellantis had approximately 300,000 employees and a presence in more than 130 countries with production facilities in 30 countries. This is a significant step forward for the Croatian company AD Plastik, which has faced challenges due to the war in Ukraine and the consequent EU sanctions against Russia.

Namely, the company based in Solin, Russia, has two factories, where it generated as much as 27% of its total revenue. Back in 2021, the Group generated more than 305 million kuna in revenue in Russia. There is no forecast for 2022 owing to the ongoing dire situation in Ukraine following Russian invasion in February this year.

Their main customers on the Russian market were Renault and Volkswagen, which hold half of the market there. Both companies suspended operations in Russia, a move which was also reflected within the Croatian company AD Plastik.

Marinko Dosen, President of the Management Board of AD Plastik, recently pointed out that the shutdowns are temporary, but also that it's difficult to predict the final impact on their business in the Russian market, and that AD Plastik's Russian factories are ready to continue production.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Croatian Company ReversingLabs Wins Prestigious Award in San Francisco

June the 21st, 2022 - The Croatian company ReversingLabs has won a prestigious award across the pond in San Francisco.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian technology companies have popped up more and more recently and they are only continuing to succeed. The latest in a series is the Global InfoSec Award won by the Croatian company ReversingLabs, which is a real leader in software supply chain security development.

The Croatian company ReversingLabs received the award for the best product in the field of application security at the RSA 2022 conference held recently in San Francisco, specifically for their product called, a solution to protect the process of the continuous delivery of both containers and software packages.

“We're honoured to be able to receive this prestigious Cyber ​​Security Award and be recognised by top judges. Threats in the supply chain and problems with unauthorised software changes continue to plague companies. Despite growing awareness, many people are still unsure how to respond to these threats. Through our solution, we provide companies with ease and security regarding all versions of software they deliver,'' said Mario Vuksan, the co-founder and CEO of the Croatian company ReversingLabs.

This is not the only award this successful company, which built the world's largest malware database through a development centre right here in the City of Zagreb, has won this year. There are a few more on the list that have won in the area of ​​software security assurance.

This, the latest award for another Croatian company, is more than enough to provide yet another spring in the steps of many of the enterprises in this country which are gaining international recognition and as such placing this country on the tech and startup map.

For more on Croatian companies, entrepreneurs, innovations and more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Adris Group Announces 3.2 Billion Kuna Investment Plans

June the 18th, 2022 - The Adris Group has announced its massive 3.2 billion kuna investment plans which cover everything from digitialisation to some well known hotels in both Zagreb and Split.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, at last week's general meeting, the Adris Group voted on a proposal for the payment of dividends, which are somewhat more generous than they were last year. During the first week of July, shareholders will receive a payment of 15.50 kuna per share (compared to last year's 12.5 kuna per share and no dividends to speak of whatsoever the year before that), which means that around 254 million kuna will be directed to dividends from accumulated retained earnings from previous years.

In his concluding comment on the business results of the Adris Group and its main components (tourism, insurance and healthy food), CEO Marko Remenar said that the company is operationally and financially ready to take further business steps and engage in the continuation of "active dividend policy".

An ambitious set of plans

In addition to a "well-diversified portfolio of jobs", Remenar also underlined the high investment potential and the ambitious list of the company's prepared investments. For the period until 2024 (including this year), their investment plans are worth an enormous 3.2 billion kuna, and four-fifths of those investments, or about 2.5 billion kuna, relate to the tourism part of the portfolio, which in the case of the Adris Group primarily means the development of the luxury segment tourism.

This year and over the next two years, on average, more than 800 million kuna will be invested in this sector alone, and as the Adris Group's spokesman Predrag Grubic noted, most of that refers to the renovation of some Zagreb hotels (along with Panorama, which is already in the process of renovation, the other one will be Westin) as well as Hotel Marjan in Split, and they'll also continue to invest in camps and resorts. The three-year projections for the insurance sector envisage investments worth 410 million kuna, and in that sense, Croatia osiguranje's focus is being placed primarily on investments in digitalisation.

IT in general accounts for a significant share of the Adris Group's investments, and their current plan to invest around half a billion kuna in business digitalisation by 2025 speaks in favour of this. In terms of the sectors themselves, the three-year plan includes 230 million kuna of investments in the business area of ​​healthy food, ie Cromaris. In the aforementioned investment cycle of 3.2 billion kuna, "possible acquisitions aren't included", Grubic explained.

According to the parliamentary presentation of the Adris Group's results and business activities, over the past two years, despite the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, almost 840 million kuna of capital investments were made. Compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019, investment activities continued at a solid pace (450 million in 2020 and 390 million last year), and in the coming period it should be further accelerated. Given that the company is still actually indebted in a low sense, the investment potential is unquestionable. Thanks to a strong recovery in operating profit, which again exceeded an impressive 1 billion kuna last year, the Adris Group entered this year with a debt ratio (net debt to EBITDA) of a mere 0.8.

The management boards of Adris' companies gave their shareholders a brief overview of the main features of how business went during the first four months of this year, and the presented data indicates further improvements in terms of results. As such, Croatia osiguranje (insurance) recorded slightly faster sales growth compared to 5.6 percent growth in the total market, which further strengthened its share here on the domestic market. In the first four months of 2022, the gross written premium of CO was higher by seven percent than it was last year, while net profit was higher by nine percent. In the tourism segment, the first third of this year was marked by strong growth in both sales revenues and physical indicators.

Compared to 82 million kuna in sales revenue back during the first four months of last year, by the end of April this year, they reached a huge 188 million kuna, with the number of occupied units being 2.5 times higher. The state of bookings and reservations at the beginning of June has significantly improved, with Istrian facilities, but also those down in Dubrovnik, exceeding the figures from the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019. 

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

EIB: Croatian Companies Among Worst Hit By Ukraine War

ZAGREB, 16 June 2022 - Over the next year, Croatian companies will be among the EU companies hardest hit by the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the European Investment Bank (EIB) says in its latest report.

"Firms in countries closer to Ukraine and Russia, such as Hungary, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, will feel the pressure. Moreover, firms in Greece, Croatia and Spain will also be more affected than the EU average," says the report, entitled "How bad is the Ukraine war for the European recovery?"

The EIB published a ranking of countries whose companies face the greatest risk from the current situation. The most vulnerable companies are those in Greece, while those in Croatia rank seventh in terms of the risk of losses and bankruptcy among the 27 EU member states.

The EIB noted that EU companies, particularly small ones, were already weakened by the COVID-19 crisis.

"The war will exacerbate firms’ vulnerability through three channels: (1) a reduction in exports, (2) lower profit due to higher energy prices, and (3) difficulty finding funding as banks avoid risk," the report says.

According to the EIB, Croatian companies will be mostly affected by increasing energy prices.

"Firm-level simulations conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) suggest the proportion of firms losing money will increase from 8% to 15% in one year, and that the share of firms at risk of default will rise from 10% to 17% over the same period," the bank said.

For more, check out our business section.

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